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Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession

“It often leads to better, more satisfying work for the people involved and ultimately to a better outcome for customers.” This is the conclusion of Harvard Business Review* – among many other leading thinkers – when they discuss the business side of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Specifically, they encourage an approach to AI that can serve as reassurance to many who fear that “the machines are coming for our jobs!”. The expert view is that when it comes to AI, humans are meant to remain in charge, but the new technology will help them become vastly more effective and efficient.

The Wolters Kluwer view

Sandeep Sacheti, Vice President of Customer Information Management and Operational Excellence for Wolters Kluwer’s Governance, Risk & Compliance division, recently spoke on the subject at the General Counsel (GC) 2018 Roundtable, where Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions business was a sponsor. He was joined by Cameron Craig, Deputy General Counsel and Group Head of Data Privacy and Digital, Group Legal, at HSBC.

The view they expressed shares the same sentiment expressed above: AI technologies can play disruptive and beneficial roles in helping General Counsels perform their jobs more effectively. They are not a replacement for legal operations professionals but rather a valuable tool to be used by the entire legal team.

Is Legal the New Black?

Long thought of as an important but strategically limited function, the legal operations professional now plays a critical role in an organization. They are increasingly responsible for driving significant efficiencies, controlling costs, and determining the best way to perform legal services in alignment with the strategic goals of the company and the business units they serve. They are now value drivers.

And thanks to the emergence of AI, many legal departments today have access to an array of tools, technologies, data, and other resources to help them operate more strategically.

In the Driver’s Seat

Which brings us back to the roundtable. The session provided a timely opportunity for General Counsels to discuss how CEOs now expect their law departments to be managed like other business units - with a focus on cost control and desire to drive innovation and competitive advantage. It also coincided with a Wolters Kluwer study that showed how the new function of legal operations has emerged to drive innovation and efficiency in corporate law departments.

A few of the findings:

  • AI is an important tool for efficiency and cost management

AI is changing the otherwise mundane and often very time-consuming legal bill review process. Using AI-enabled technology helps legal operations professions more efficiently manage legal invoices and improve cost management. It allows these professionals to analyze millions of invoice line items submitted by law firms, comparing them against outside counsel billing guidelines. Applying machine learning across tens of thousands of invoices, they can achieve better outcomes, additional cost control and savings, and improved productivity.

  • AI also helps improve compliance

Billing guidelines are an important component to help ensure law firms adhere to their requirements on staffing, process, and legal practice, as well as invoicing. Using AI, legal operations professionals can significantly improve compliance with their billing guidelines across outside counsel relationships.

  • AI is an enhancement, not a replacement

The real value of AI lies in combining the efficiency of targeted AI applications with the expertise of legal professionals. As an example, ELM Solutions’ LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer service helps corporate legal departments and insurance organizations more efficiently manage their invoices and improve cost management. The service manages the entire invoicing review process through a combination of advanced technology, machine learning, and human expertise to ensure outside firm compliance with billing guidelines, while offering clients an average cost savings of 6 to 9 percent in legal fees.

In short, the increasing use of AI in the legal space is a positive development for legal operations professionals. Read more on AI in general and specifically at Wolters Kluwer.

*Source: https://hbr.org/cover-story/2017/07/the-business-of-artificial-intelligence